War-related Sexual Violence in Sierra Leone Essay

War-related Sexual Violence in Sierra Leone Essay

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In 1991, a struggle for political control of Sierra Leone broke out that would change the face of the country in ways that could never be anticipated. Due to several factors, including colonialism, inequities and greed caused by the presence of diamonds, and structural inadequacies there was a sense of discontent among many people (“War-Related Sexual Violence” 15-9). As a result, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) invaded after training in Liberia, in an attempt to overthrow the incumbent government (Park 317). Because of their extensive combatant training and determination, the RUF took Sierra Leone by force and was very successful in the initial stages of the war. This was especially in their dislocation of people (“War-Related Sexual Violence 17-8). Central to their strategy, though, was something much more devastating and devious—the use warfare mechanisms that exploited the society and their culture in order to destroy the existing Sierra Leonean society . The civil war and strife within Sierra Leone was detrimental in many ways, especially in its creation of a climate conducive to gender-based crime. The domestic conflict amplified existing traditions of patriarchy, created a desire within the armed forces to hurt the population through social warfare and encouraged violence as a method of asserting power, and created a practice of complacency in response to sustained violence.
Gender-based crime within this context covers a fairly extensive scope, as established by the Trial I Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). This case established its judgment for Prosecutor v. Issa Hassan Sesay, Morris Kallon, and Augustine Gbao, often called the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) case in 2009 (Oosterveld 49). This ...


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...eld, Valerie. “Gender Jurisprudence of the Special Court for Sierra Leone: Progress in the Revolutionary United Front Judgements.” Cornell International Law Journal. 44 (2011): 49-74.

Park, Augustine. “’Inhuman Acts’: Forced Marriage, Girl Soldiers, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.” Social & Legal Studies. 15 (3): 315-337.

“Sierra Leone: Rape and Other Forms of Sexual Violence Against Girls and Women.” United States: Amnesty International, 2000.

Simpson, Deanna. “Conflict Profile: Sierra Leone.” Women Under Siege. N.p, Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.

“The Trauma of War in Sierra Leone.” The Lancet. 355 (2000): 2067-8.

“War-Related Sexual Violence in Sierra Leone: A Population-Based Assessment.” United States: Physicians for Human Rights, 2002.

“‘We'll Kill You If You Cry’: Sexual Violence In the Sierra Leone Conflict.” New York: Human Rights Watch, 2003.

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